Jay March2011

Jay Frucci, President and Owner,
Furniture Consignment Gallery

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Kentucky Derby- Appreciating Martha On Race Day

 

 

muybridgeHarrodsburg, Kentucky is a sleepy town of about 9,000, except for certain times of year when the place is seized with a peculiar sports mania. That would be the winter college basketball season and the eve of the Kentucky Derby.

 

Some of the best gossip in town could be gotten at the Davis Beauty Shop. Martha Davis, the owner, was married to the basketball coach of Harrodsburg High School in Mercer County. He had a hotline to Coach Adolf Rupp of the University of Kentucky, one of the most successful coaches in the history of American college basketball.

 

So the women of the bluegrass would make their weekly pilgrimages to see Martha - with the full encouragement of their husbands. That's because the women would come home not only freshly coiffed but also fully stocked with hot tips for their husbands on horses and basketball.    

 

Now 95, Martha hasn't wielded a curling iron for a while now but she's still as elegant and indomitable as she was in her prime. Last year, she downsized and sold the classic belle of a mansion she and her husband, Coach Davis, had owned on Harrodsburg's Main Street.

 

Diana, my wife, was fortunate to get some of the beautiful furniture that graced her grandmother's home. So was Furniture Consignment Gallery. Martha entrusted us to sell some of her favorite pieces, among them an Empire chest and an antique pine rope bed.     

 

Selling furniture with a story - that's what makes the consignment business so much fun. Stop by one of our showrooms today. It's Derby Day. Martha, or as we know her, Nana sends her regards.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Ship Shape

 

 

House BoatEven on a big boat, space is tight. That makes furnishing the place a challenge, especially when you make the boat your full-time home. In fact, it is probably every bit as frustrating a puzzle as a Rubik's Cube.

 

Which explains the email I got earlier this week from a customer, whom I'll call the Captain. "Greetings, Jay," he wrote. "Get out your tape measure. Prepare to be ACCURATE - to the eighth of an inch or better. These measurements are crucial and will require eyeballs at floor level."

 

Apparently, the Captain had fallen in love with a beautiful walnut chest of drawers he'd found on our website He wanted to install it in his bedroom on the boat. The problem? The dresser was 25 inches wide - two inches wider than the aft door.

 

Living at sea, the Captain apparently has acquired a necessary ingenuity. "What is the height of the legs under the chest?" the Captain asked in his email. Perhaps, he mused, he could turn the dresser on its side and spiral it around the door frame. The legs, he warned, would have to be at least 2ΒΌ inches high to accomplish this feat.

 

Even by email, the Captain was a commanding presence. "Jay," he wrote, "remove the upper-most drawers from the dresser. Look inside and determine how the top of the dresser is attached. Is it by glue or by screw? I may be able to remove the top. Hence, it will easily clear the narrow door frame."

   

The Captain is one of my favorite customers even if he does make me feel like a bit of a swabbie. He loves fine furniture - and he really likes the bargains he finds at Furniture Consignment Gallery. He also knows he can rely on our associates to get down on the floor and get those measurements quickly and accurately - down to the sixteenth of an inch.

 

He's been shopping our website for years and we've had the honor of furnishing his sixty-foot, thirty-ton boat, which is moored in a slip in Los Angeles. Every couple of months, he finds a piece he loves and after has it shipped three thousand miles to the marina he calls home.

 

I'd like to meet the guy one of these days. I'd like a tour of his boat. Most of all, I'd like to find out how he managed to get a 25-inch wide dresser through a 23-inch wide door.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Your Choice: Landfill or Resale

 

 

IMG 5893Mysteriously, a giant pine tree fell in our yard last weekend, crushing sections of a new fence we'd installed only a year ago. We didn't hear or see anything in the night, but the backyard was a mess when we awoke on Easter Sunday.

So after church, instead of our traditional egg hunt, we got to work. Our three boys swung axes. I manned the chain saw. We cut the tree into pieces and hauled it away.

Winters are notoriously tough in New England, but spring with its driving rains and high winds can be just as hard. Mother Nature or some other malevolent force seems to take pleasure in unleashing a legion of gremlins just to test our capacity for misery.

It was a week of woe. After the tree episode, our icemaker went on strike. It was new. Thanks a lot, GE. You've ruined my much-anticipated end-of-week treat: bourbon over ice on a Friday night.

Next, our cable router died, leaving us without Internet - for three days. Ouch! The demons even followed me to work. Our trucks had so many ailments they needed a full-time mechanic.

Things break. That's just the way it goes. But I'm old enough now to realize that new things seem to break more often - and more completely - than the old ones. And most of the new things are made so shoddily they aren't worth repairing.

So beware when you hear about new furniture deals that seem too good to be true. Retailers are offering aggressive promotions this spring on furniture. Samples: "Only $5 a day" or "We'll pay your sales tax" or "If the Red Sox win the pennant, your furniture is free!"

Here's the reality. That furniture might not last any longer than the installment payments you'll be making. You'll get far better quality buying the consignment furniture in our showrooms.  

Even the quality pre-owned furniture that you buy from us today could be sold again tomorow. We have a nice Pompanoosuc Mills dining room set scheduled to arrive today that was bought from us five years ago.  Quality furniture will have resale value as long as the style stays in play. 

Feel free to disregard my advice. But I'll be happy to lend you a couple of axes and my chainsaw in a couple of years when you're hauling the cheap stuff off to the dump. 

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Dog Treats Unearthed

 

 

9752e5e2cd9f393bdaf5e18ef9ebb41eAs the massive glacier of snow and ice recedes from our lawn, a new treasure appears every day. Surprise! Here's a single ice skate that's been missing for months. Yesterday, I found the football the boys got for Christmas, along with a partially chewed pizza box, sans pizza. Roxie, our toddler boxer, is the culprit. She considers everything in our house - and our garbage - to be her personal chew toy. Our front lawn is a graveyard of well-masticated items lying, like bleached bones, in full view of the neighborhood.

 

Thanks to Mother Nature, we had no idea the full extent of our pup's destructive instincts. Snow after snow hid the evidence. Now, we're placing bets on what might appear next during the Big Melt. I am missing my grill light er. But it's not like I need it yet. I still can't find my grill under the avalanche of snow that slid off the roof.

 

We aren't the only ones cleaning up a lot of debris after a harsh winter. One of our neighbors in town discovered a deer carcass in a snow bank. At least we haven't had to bury anything at our house.

 

At work, though, I've been tempted to get out the shovel this week. We've been witnessing a curious phenomenon in our showrooms. Suddenly, people are trying to pawn off on us the stuff they've unearthed this spring from their cellars, attics or, in some cases it seems, their snow banks.

 

We're talking faded pastel art prints from the 1970s, smelly rugs, and a couple of upholstered chairs that look like they'd served as cat scratching posts for a couple of decades. We had about ten cars show up yesterday full with crapola. Thanks for thinking of us, but no.

 

Boston is finally emerging from hibernation after a brutally harsh winter. And it isn't a pretty sight out there. So if you're looking for a place to unload the flotsam and jetsam at your home, make a beeline - for the dump. We only take the best of the best at FCG.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Boston's Finest Pre-Owned Contemporary Furniture

 

 

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Every morning, we go through a full loaf of cinnamon bread at our house for breakfast. I dunk slice after slice into the toaster, then butter them up for our three boys. That's our morning ritual.

 

Cade, my oldest, was hovering over my shoulder this morning making a claim on the next hot slice. At 15, he is growing faster than kudzu. As I handed over the toast, I took a step back and suddenly realized we'd crossed a milestone. Cade is now taller than me.

 

What struck me is that he'd grown right before my eyes but the change hadn't registered. I'm always busy juggling the day-to-day responsibilities of fatherhood and running a small business. But over time small changes every day really add up.

 

Later, at work, I realized something similar had happened at Furniture Consignment Gallery. Our Chestnut Hill store has evolved over the past few months to become the pre-eminent showroom for pre-owned contemporary furniture in or around Boston. How did that happen?

 

Consider the evidence. This week, we accepted for consignment two bold and curvaceous sofas by Rolf Benz, along with a glass coffee table and a sofa table. New, the set cost more than $13,000. Germany's Rolf Benz is a revered name in contemporary design, known for its quality craftsmanship and comfort. At FCG, the sofas are each priced at $999. Our consignor also brought us a set of sleek blue dining chairs also by Rolf Benz. New, each chair is $1,800. We're selling the set of four for $1,600.

 

 

Also in Chestnut Hill is a Ted Boerner sofa and armchair in white leather, originally purchased from the high-end contemporary store Design Within Reach. This week, the showroom is filled with the most sought-after designer names in contemporary furniture, including Hans Wegner and Roche Bobois.

 

Upscale contemporary furniture is extraordinarily expensive when bought new. The top manufacturers use genuine chrome, quality metals, lucites and premium grade leathers. But like the pre-owned market for traditional furniture, the discounts and deals are amazing when you buy at FCG. We don't waste your time with knock-offs and no-name brands. In Chestnut Hill, we've specialized in selecting the best in contemporary design.  

 

So we've grown at FCG, and we want to call your attention to the changes. Stop by the store on Route 9, westbound, in Newton. You'll find a breathtaking array of the highest quality contemporary furniture at amazing prices.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Moments to Memories

 

 

9T4pdzbTEMy grandmother's home smelled like fresh garlic roasting in olive oil. And she always had a pot of water bubbling on the stove ready to cook her homemade macaroni when we arrived for a feast. Never had I been so excited for one of her meals than in the spring of 2001. My son Cade was a toddler and he was just beginning to eat all kinds of new foods. In my family, Grandma's Italian cooking was a rite of passage, a kind of baptism by ground beef. Her homemade meatballs, the stuff of culinary legend, were on the menu that Easter Sunday. When I close my eyes, I can still see the vast spread of food on the table. There were two big bowls, each filled with homemade pasta and meat sauce. At one end of the table was a platter of eggplant Parmesan. At the other was a platter of braised lamb in a rich gravy. We whipped through grace and dug in with glee. Forks screeched against spoons as we wound big wads of spaghetti laden with sauce. So engrossed were we in our pasta paradise that no one was watching Cade - until he gurgled up a big, satisfied burp. We all turned towards the old wooden highchair in unison. There he sat with red sauce smeared across his face. Both of his hands were full of mashed meatball. He was rocking back and forth in excitement, eyes wide, stuffing his mouth as fast as he could with meatball. We all roared with laughter. img 4862Then, in the blink of an eye, that moment was gone. Cade is 15 now. Grandma has been gone for years. We miss her a lot. Her meatballs are still legendary. How quickly moments turn to memories. When my grandparents were first married, they counted their pennies carefully like most immigrants. Buying a big mahogany dining room set might have felt like irresponsible spending to a young couple. But four generations of family celebrated every holiday at that table. I'd argue that it was the best investment they ever made. Easter is April 5th, just two weeks away. Passover begins on Friday, April 3. So buy that big dining room set and make some family memories. You'll never regret it.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

The Coconut Option

 

 

coconut clipart Coconut"Do I look like a Wellesley housewife to you?" he said with mild irritation.

 

Well, I thought, no. He looked like an overworked handy-man. He was wearing jeans, a ratty sweater, an unlaced pair of L.L. Bean boots and a cap advertising Miller High Life, a lowbrow swill.

 

But here we were standing in front of a stately mansion in that swanky town. I was firing questions at him about the high-quality furniture he was consigning, including a Baker Colonial Williamsburg dining room set, a Councill Craftsman server, a secretary by EJ Victor. And he was getting exasperated. "I don't know anything about furniture," he said.

 

Some customers are a "riddle wrapped in a mystery," to quote from Winston Churchill. There had to be a story here. There was.

 

After a wildly successful decade on Wall Street in the 1980s, he retired at the age of 36. The suburban life with wife and kids had no appeal for him. His stock options gave him the opportunity to exercise what he called "the coconut option."

 

He made a life for himself alone in the Florida Keys, sailing, fishing and toasting the sunset with a beer from his front porch. For company, he had a dog.

 

"I get them from the pound when they only have a year or two left of life in them," he said. "Then, I spoil the hell out of them." He tossed a tennis ball across the lawn. The old mutt leaped up j961oyfully and took off like an Olympic sprinter.

 

I had to ask. "How does a single guy who couldn't care less about furniture end up with a big house filled with the best of it?"

 

Turns out, his dad worked for the phone company. His mom was a housewife. With six kids, they had enough for the essentials - but no luxuries. When he made his fortune, he bought them a big house, then took his mom furniture shopping. "That was fun," he said. 

 

Now, twenty-five years later, his parents are moving into an assisted-living facility. The house has to go. Ditto the furniture. He wasn't taking so much as a lamp back to the Keys. He likes the simple life. "You gotta know what makes you happy, man," he said.

 

Come to FCG in Chestnut Hill and check out his furniture. You might find just the piece to make your mom happy. Or your wife. Or your sister. Or maybe even yourself. Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Crazy for Color

 

 

The Internet was on fire last week. A Scottish bride posted a photo of the dress her mother wore to her wedding and asked a simple question: what color is this? Within hours, tens of millions of people all over the world were hotly debating. Everyone but the Pope had an opinion.

 

What in color-nation was going on? IMG 4625

 

The Great Dress Debate illustrates some important truths. Everyone sees color differently. Some people don't see color at all. Then there are those who see greater variety and depth in color than the average Joe. Which explains a lot about the mystery of interior design.

 

Brian, Hanover's new assistant store manager, has a gifted eye for color. He proved it this week when the moving guys dumped a newly consigned salmon-colored sectional in his showroom. "Damn," I thought as I passed it by, "that is one ugly sofa."

 

In a few moments of inspiration, though, Brian whipped together a furniture vignette that included the sectional, a pair of mousy brown chairs and a rug in a bold geometric pattern. Suddenly, the ugly sectional looked stylish and modern. The brown chair was transformed into a crisp accent piece.

 

Suddenly, I wanted to take it home. What the heck? "Sometimes," Brian explained, "ugly plus ugly equals awesome." (Men, do not try this at home. This formula does not apply to your closet.)

  

Color is complex - and necessary - in successful design. Most of us struggle with it. That's why shopping for furniture and home accents is stressful. Mistakes are common but avoidable if you shop at FCG.

 

Some tips: shop in a showroom, not online. (Colors can be distorted by your computer.) Take fabric samples so that you can how see the color interacts with the light in your home. We are happy to loan a cushion for a day or so.

 

Bring color samples or photos of your walls, rugs and upholstered pieces when shopping. Our design-savvy associates will happily help coordinate a palette that will work in your home.

 

If you are still panic-stricken with color phobia, have no fear. Diana, my wife and a certified ASID interior designer, is offering a four-week series of evening classes at our showroom in Plymouth. Her color class is every student's favorite. Sign up now!

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

A Re-Emergence

 

 

"We just got a bigger place!"

 

They were young, excited and expecting a new addition to their family any day. The couple burst into the showroom earlier this week and, after announcing their big news, they hurried off in opposite directions to shop.

 

Anticipating long nights with a fussy newborn, the father-to-be quickly found his favorite piece: a $1,710 leather loveseat sleeper by Hancock & Moore. As a father of three, I had to stifle the urge to educate the poor guy. Just because you buy a sleeper doesn't mean you're going to get any sleep after the baby arrives.  

 

Meanwhile, on another floor, his wife had fallen in love with the Princess Bed, a fantastically frou-frou structure decked out in acres of pink and yellow. 0uimg 0992copy

 

"I think it's a girl," she confided shyly, "but we don't really know..."

 

I quickly steered her towards more gender-neutral baby furniture. Turning the Princess Bed into a rocket ship or racecar if a little lad showed up would be a major challenge for a sleep-deprived dad.

 

After weeks of hibernation, shoppers are starting to emerge from their winter dens. And with them come the challenges of helping them navigate the turning points in life. I've missed that.

 

In Chestnut Hill, I was happy to see a longtime customer looking at a dining table of inlaid mahogany and eight leather chairs. Downsizing from a grand suburban colonial, she was scouting out items for a new condo overlooking Boston Harbor.

 

"Dining room seating for eight? In a condo?" I asked gently.

 

"Oh," she laughed. "I keep forgetting we're downsizing! And that means smaller!"

 

Finally, a normal week, I thought. Customers young and old are starting to trickle back into our stores. I'm happy to see familiar faces - and new ones. We've got showrooms well stocked with furniture for all kinds of fresh starts. The sun is shining. The snow is melting. Spring will be here soon.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Deciding Factors

 

 

"What do you think?" the young husband asked tentatively as he and his wife stood side-by-side studying a pair of marble-top chests. "I like them," she answered, hesitantly. "What do you think?"

 

"I think I like them," he answered carefully.bridal 20clip 20art RTdpqbGT9

 

"Are you sure?" she asked. "I do like them, but you don't sound so sure."

 

Newlyweds. Cute but frustrating. After a few minutes of patiently watching them lob the same question back and forth, I politely excused myself and left them alone in their tar pit of indecision. A few minutes later, they tracked me down. "She likes them!" the husband beamed. "But I'm not sure about him," she chimed in. "So we're going to go home and think about it."

 

Life offers an endless series of decisions. Colonial or Cape? Cat or dog? Save or spend? Negotiating the tar pit as a couple definitely is a skill you've got to master once you tie the knot.

 

Here at FCG, we get to witness those negotiations every day. As the indecisive couple shuffled out the door, another couple barreled into the showroom. "Upstairs," she commanded as her husband followed at her heels. Clearly, there were kids in the car and time was limited.

 

"This one," she said, pointing to a curio cabinet.

 

"Will it fit?" he asked. "Yes," she said decisively. Within minutes, they had paid, loaded the new piece into the back of the SUV, and roared out of the parking lot.

 

There's only one thing I know for sure. When you visit our three stores, you're going to find lots and lots of choices. Our showrooms are jammed with an ever-changing variety of beautiful, high-quality pieces of furniture at great prices. So your skill in decision-making is going to get a workout. You might want to practice. Or bring a coin to flip.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!
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